Hyundai’s permanent presence at Nürburgring is expected to boost the quality and performance of the popular Korean maker’s cars closer to that of its European rivals.
The purpose-built facility will launch in August, offering Hyundai a dedicated resource for evaluating its vehicles on one of the toughest proving grounds in the world.
Hyundai Motor’s General Manager of Vehicle Test & Development, Axel Honish, told CarAdvice during an exclusive tour of the facility that having a full-time presence at the Nürburgring is critical to the on-going improvement of company’s cars.
“The Nürburgring is an ideal track that covers all possible driving situations for performance testing. It’s a safe environment because it’s not a public area,” he said.
“Proving grounds simply don’t have the proper track layout with natural corners, compressions that offer experienced test drivers enough feedback to improve the car’s performance”.
Honish added the permanent presence at the Nürburgring would give Hyundai a better opportunity to benchmark competitors. “It is important to find out where we are in comparison and how far we have to go to match these rivals”, he said.
Asked specifically about the latest Volkswagen Golf, which is considered by the motoring media to be the benchmark in the small car segment, Axel said: “The Golf is very balanced in all conditions, but we are very proud to be competitive with our rivals and will continue to refine our cars”.
Hyundai’s new facility will allow it to complete a greater number of the arduous ‘accelerated durability tests’ where an intensive 10,000km (480 laps) running each car at 90-95 per cent of the best lap time (in wet and dry conditions) is the equivalent of 180,000km on the road.
Over 20 specific measurements are taken on every run, while the driver’s observations are also recorded.
Hyundai uses up to six highly experienced test drivers who have years of experience on the Nüburgring – most with at least 10,000 laps under their belt and all of whom can replicate lap times to within one second and hitting certain speeds in certain positions.
“Every test brings improvements to our vehicles. Even those models not tested here will benefit from what we learn. The data we collect is not only valid for Europe, but is shared with Hyundai’s offices around the world”, said Honish.
“We also test other brands – all German cars, including premium models. This provides a valid data set for comparisons”.